The final frontier of Board Building on Vancouver Island, Canada
Tom here again at Section 8 HQ and here it is… the Pièce de résistance as they say. The final installment of building a snowboard on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
So as we stand, pretty much everything is good to go and most of the work is done. The base material has been cut out and the edge super glued in place. The wooden core has been done for a while now (see the first installment) and the veneer top sheet has been designed and cut out.
Normally this is when we load up the press and get the board pressed and ready for snow but what Angie and Evan do, which I personally have never seen and is something completely different is use a soldering iron, burning into the wood to leaving charred wooden lines and shading to the design. As you can see it not just a question of adding a line of two, Angie really has a steady hand and I left this to her. She came up trumps as she always does!!
So now here it is, this is the most nerve racking part of the board building process everything has to be ready to go as you only have so long to do all the work before the epoxy starts to cure and you are left with a pile of wood and glue. The epoxy is mixed and you have about 20 mins before your out of luck!
On this board I decided to add some kevlar in the tail and up the middle, almost like a surfboard stringer that goes straight through the middle. I also added some over the binding mounts. This is where it comes to personal choice, some people would like a softer powder board but I really like a stiffer board hence adding kevlar.
This is also comes down to knowing what you want and Evan is very knowledgeable and can help come to a decision on what you need by talking about what you like!
We decided on the patterns of the kevlar to maximize stiffness in the areas I wanted and now its go time. We mix all the epoxy we need and start to pour it on the cut out base we have made up (with the edges glued on) along the edge we add a rubber bonding film to help the sticking process of the layers, then adding a layer of fiberglass and more glue.
On top of this we then lay the wood core on top of the fiberglass underneath adding inserts for our bindings and fiberglass reinforcements for the bindings. Most company’s just add the binding inserts and throw glue on top but we add a small rectangle of fiberglass round the binding inserts for added strength in this important area. Another layer of fiberglass and wood and then the wood veneer puzzle goes on top followed by another layer of epoxy.
Before we added any glue, we set the board press up to press in the way we want it. Where we want the camber and the tip and tail to be. On this board, I wanted the nose to be bigger so it floats better in powder so we set up the press accordingly. Now we cover the top and base of the gluey mess with a sheet of aluminum, which heats up in the press to help the board glue together with heat. And thats it….
Now we wait with bated breath. About an hour of nervousness comes and goes turning up the heat and pressure and the alarm goes off to say its finished. This is the most nerve racking part because you are about to find out if it came out like you wanted it and as you peel off the hot aluminium……WOW!!! Nothing bad happened… YES!! And look at this board, I have never been so proud, its like I just gave birth to my first son!
We let the board cool for a day or two and there are a few thing left to do. We have to cut off all the excess glue and fiberglass from the outside and sand down the top sheet and add layers of polyurethane. This is the stuff skateboard wheels are made of. If anyone has seen Dogtown and Z boys, the documentary about skateboarding, then you’d know about polyurethane skate wheels. They pretty much changed the sport to what we know today, and if you haven’t seen it, I implore you to go buy it its a great skate/surf film based in the late 60’s and early 70’s
Anyway what polyurethane does is add a shine to the top sheet and also add protection from dings and the environment its going to be ridden in, example – water and wood don’t mix!!
Now for a final base grind to get off the excess glue and what not from the base of the board and voila, check, finito, whatever you want to say its finished!
So there it is folks, the finished article! I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and learning about making snowboards and what is involved in the process. Keep checking in, I’m going to be writing things all the time and I think I’m kinda getting the hang of it… and I have been told to use spell check so let me know if you find any errors!
Id like to say a very special thanks to two great people, Angie and Evan, without which this blog just wouldn’t have been here period. They are very special people with an unbelievable passion for winter sports and the crafting of these instruments of amazing fun!
If anyone is interested in your very own custom board please get in touch as I’m sure they would love to make something for you. Real people building something with love rather than someone pressing a button on a machine, and lets be honest this sport really deserves the best money can buy doesn’t it..
Plus, I also have word that the first sets of skis are coming off the press soon!!
If you need to contact them they can be found at Evan Fair – [email protected] or phone +1250 339 7795 and ask for Evan or Angie and say you read about it here..
So finally you all know whats coming hopefully…
Did you hear about the guy who lost his whole left side?
He’s alright now…